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Chapter 22:
Spectral and Correlation Properties of Two-Photon Light
Although light quanta were known since the works by Planck and Einstein, for several decades after these works, there was no need to treat light quantum mechanically, and all experiments could be well explained using the quantum description of matter and classical description of light (the semiclassical approach). The situation changed with the development of sources of so-called nonclassical light, i.e., light whose properties cannot be understood in the framework of the semiclassical approach. Two simple examples can be given here. The first one is the suppression of shot noise in optical detectors. Shot noise, i.e., fluctuations of photocurrent scaling as the square root of the photocurrent mean value, can be, in principle, attributed to the discrete nature of the charge generated by the detector. At the same time, the effect of shot-noise suppression, which is observed with certain light sources (squeezed light) is clearly related to the statistics of light, and quantum mechanics is completely necessary for its description. Another example, which brings us closer to the subject of the present paper, is two-photon light. This type of light contains only pairs of photons (often called biphotons), and hence, a pair of properly aligned photon-counting detectors registering two-photon light, in an ideal case, will produce only simultaneous photocounts. This behavior, again, can only be explained in terms of a quantum-mechanical description for the light.
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